Prayer for Israel
Here at the Warrington House of Prayer, God has placed a burden upon us and has incorporated prayer for Israel into our vision.
We believe passionately in Israel’s past, present, and future prophetic purposes as laid out in Scripture. Indeed, God chose Israel as a nation unto Himself through which His redemptive plan for all mankind would come and be fulfilled, both in terms of Jesus’s first coming, and also His second coming.
At the Warrington House of Prayer, we do not believe in ‘Replacement Theology’ (which is the belief that the Church has replaced Israel as God’s people). We fundamentally believe that the Church is ‘grafted-in’ to the Commonwealth of Israel by faith in Jesus Christ our Saviour. This is laid out in multiple Scriptures, but to just give a taste:
““The days are coming,” declared the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This is what the LORD says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is His name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me,” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 31: 31-36 (NIV)
You will notice from these verses, that God does not say that He will make a new covenant with the Gentiles. Indeed, if this is the case, as Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, how can the Gentiles become part of this new covenant? By becoming one with Jesus:
“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” Ephesians 2: 11-22 (NIV)
It is clear by this Scripture that Jesus intended to create us as ‘one-new-man’ of Jew and Gentile united in Him. As we look at the Church in the book of Acts, we see that it was initially completely Jewish, and then from Acts 10, we see Gentiles starting to be grafted in, with Cornelius being the first one.
The Apostle Paul talks about the grafting in of Gentiles, and also a warning to them against arrogance towards the Jewish people in Romans 11:
“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over these branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in His kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!” Romans 11: 11-24 (NIV)
As we look at church history, unfortunately we can see that this arrogance and anti-Semitism did indeed creep into the church as it became more Gentile, until by the time of the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) it was ingrained into the church with Emperor Constantine saying the following (in regards to the celebrating of Passover):
“It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … Let us … studiously avoiding all contact with that evil way. … For how can they entertain right views on any point who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. … lest your pure minds should appear to share in the customs of a people so utterly depraved. … Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord… no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews.” (Ecclesiastical History by Theodoret. Book 1 Chapter 9)
We believe that not only did this anti-Semitism greatly grieve our Lord, but was part of a demonic strategy to cut the church from its nourishing roots. Notice how, not long after this much of Europe entered what became known as the ‘Dark Ages’, and that the church for over a thousand years became void of any sense of spiritual power. Instead it became a corrupt and powerful political institution. Whatever we sow, we will reap and so as we sowed anti-Semitism and cut ourselves off from our Jewish brethren and roots, so we reaped a spiritually powerless church. Not quite the Kingdom outpouring that our Lord Jesus Christ intended.
If we look back over the last 120 years, we can see the parallel between developments in the Jewish community and the restoring of power into the church and Kingdom breakout:
1897: First Zionist Council convenes (Jewish Community)
1904: Welsh Revival (Church)
1906: Azusa Street Revival (Church)
1948: Israel becomes a nation again after 1900 years (Jewish Community)
Late 1940s/50s: Healing Revival (Church)
1967: Reunification of Jerusalem within Israel (Jewish Community)
Late 1960s/70s: Jesus Movement / Charismatic Renewal (Church)
The body as Jesus intends is to be one-new-man between Jew and Gentile, and so where the church has lacked our Jewish brethren, we are not a complete body.
If we look again to the Scriptures in Romans and as we look at the various parts of the Body around the world, we can see that where we are reaching out to our Jewish brethren, and looking at our Hebraic roots, Kingdom growth is occurring and the dynamic beauty of parts of Scripture that we have been blinded to is being restored to the church:
“Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” Romans 11: 11-15 (NIV)
Here at the Warrington House of Prayer, we firmly believe in the outreach of the Gospel to our Jewish brethren, and in turn the restoration of our Hebraic roots back into the church. We are pleased to be able to connect with a Messianic Jewish Ministry called ‘Maoz Israel’ (http://www.maozisrael.org) via their UK Office.
As part of our Hebraic root, we are excited to say that we commit to celebrating the Feasts of the LORD as laid out in Leviticus 23 (Passover (including Feast of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits), Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles). On this particular point, it can be quite easy to mistake these as Jewish feasts (generally because on the whole, the Jews are the only ones keeping them), however when we look at Scripture, it says:
“The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.” Leviticus 23: 1-2
In looking at the Feasts, it is important to recognise that the LORD appointed these as special anniversaries and prophetic markers for things still to come. In fact, God spoke about them in Genesis 1: 14: “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,” (NIV)
The Hebrew word, which has been translated into the English as ‘seasons’ is ‘moed’. Moed is not referring to the weather seasons. The literal meaning of the word is ‘appointed time, place, or meeting’ (Strong’s Concordance).
In studying our Hebrew roots, we find that there are quite a few things we have failed to notice. From a Feast perspective, we know that God gave Moses the ordinances concerning them at Mount Sinai (Exodus 23). They have literal meaning to the Israelites in terms of what God did for Israel in ancient times…..Passover for example, looking at Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. However, they were also markers on God’s prophetic calendar.
Jesus was crucified during Passover, in the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and raised on the Feast of First Fruits. The Holy Spirit was sent on Pentecost. These are known as the Spring Feasts, and these have been completely fulfilled in Jesus’s first coming. The Autumn Feasts will be completely fulfilled with the Second Coming of Jesus.
Roughly, a quarter of Scripture is prophecy. Prophecy is like the jigsaw pieces in God’s master picture. As the pieces are brought together, we get to see the bigger picture. In looking at Israel in Scripture, it’s important to look at God’s Word concerning them.
Some of the prophecies concerning Israel…..
1) The Jewish people would be brought back to the land of Israel. (Israel became the world’s largest Jewish population centre in 2013) 1 – Being Fulfilled
“then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous that your fathers.” Deuteronomy 30: 3-5 (NIV)
“However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave to their forefathers.” Jeremiah 16: 14-15 (NIV)
“Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.’” Jeremiah 31: 10 (NIV)
“I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.” Ezekiel 34: 13 (NIV)
“and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” Ezekiel 37: 21-22 (NIV)
“I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. Amos 9: 14-15 (NIV)
2) Restoration of Hebrew as National Language (process began in 1881) 2 – Fulfilled
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3: 9 (KJV)
3) Rebirth of Israel as a Nation State (14th May 1948) – Fulfilled
“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born.” Isaiah 66: 7-8 (NLT)
4) Restoration of the Shekel as Israel’s Currency (old Shekel introduced on the 24th February 1980 / New Israeli Shekel introduced on the 1st January 1986) – Fulfilled
“The standard unit for weight will be the silver shekel. One shekel will consist of twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will be equal to one mina.” Ezekiel 45: 12 (NLT)
5) The Land of Israel Shall be Transformed from Wasteland to Like the Garden of Eden (since 1901, the Jewish National Fund has planted over 240 million trees, built 180 dams and reservoirs, developed 250 000 acres, and established more than 1000 parks in Israel). 3
“In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.” Isaiah 27: 6 (ESV)
“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the Plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display His glory, the splendour of our God.” Isaiah 35: 1-25 (NLT)
“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51: 3 (KJV)
“The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’” Ezekiel 36: 34-35 (NLT)
6) Restoration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel – Fulfilled
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “It may seem marvellous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvellous to me?” declared the LORD Almighty. This is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.” Zechariah 8: 4-8 (NIV)
7) The Status of Jerusalem Will be an Issue for all the Nations
“On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” Zechariah 12: 3 (ESV)
Current Danger Zone:
“I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” Joel 3: 2 (NIV)
Whilst most people are completely unaware of the spiritual ramifications of the land of Israel being divided, God has warned us, and it would do us well to pray God’s Kingdom into the land of Israel and against any attempts by our nations to divide it.
In regards to the Second Coming of Christ, I do not want to go in-depth on this as it is a massive subject, suffice as to say that the Jewish people are crucial to this: “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23: 39 (NIV). This is just one Scripture, there are many others. This is Jesus speaking to His fellow Jews.
Many people say that Jesus could return tomorrow, and it’s true that we should all prepare our hearts as though He is, but Scripture indicates that He won’t return until the Jewish people are crying out for Him.
So prayer for Israel is two-folded. One, that the Jewish people would know the salvation of Yeshua (Jesus). Two, as we are praying for Israel to be saved, we are also in respect of prophecy praying for the return of Jesus.
I would like to make the point here though that we are not praying solely for salvation of the Jews. We also love the Arab and Muslim peoples and pray for their salvation as well. After all, NO person can come to the Father, except through the Son. The conflict in the region is a difficult one, and we would not say that Israel is perfect. No nation is perfect, and we recognise that modern Israel is a largely secular nation. But we have to recognise that this conflict is not primarily natural in nature. It is completely spiritual. This is a spiritual battle. So this is about praying for God’s Kingdom to come in Israel.
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Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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